by Jim Bainbridge
By Ruth Nicolaus/for the Oregon Trail Rodeo committee
HASTINGS, NEB. – Cody DeMoss nearly didn’t come to Hastings, Neb., but the Heflin, La. man is sure glad he did.
The saddle bronc rider had planned on “turning out” – not competing in the Oregon Trail Rodeo in Hastings, Neb. on August 27, but at the last minute, changed his mind.
Inky, the saddle bronc horse owned by Korkow Rodeo of Pierre, S.D., helped change his mind.
DeMoss made an 82-point ride on the horse to win the 25th anniversary of the Oregon Trail Rodeo.
He had planned on competing in Kennewick, Wash., instead of Hastings.
“I got to thinking about it,” he said, “and prayed about it a bit and a couple of other guys I talked to, they said, you might ought to get on Inky there.’”
He took their advice. DeMoss spent $850 on a plane ticket from Seattle to Omaha, where he met up with fellow saddle bronc rider Logan Allen from Crescent, Iowa. The two traveled to Hastings, where DeMoss ended up winning the rodeo.
The $1,814 check he won couldn’t have come at a better time. With only five weeks left in the rodeo year, DeMoss is outside the top 15 in the WEATHER GUARD PRCA World standings, who qualify to compete at pro rodeo’s “World Series,” the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR) in December in Las Vegas. He’s been to the Wrangler NFR 11 times, but didn’t start rodeoing hard this year till mid-June. “I only went to 12 rodeos by the time Reno (Nev.) started,” he said. “I stayed at the house and baled hay.”
But then it was time for the 35-year-old cowboy to make a decision: either rodeo full time or stay home more.
“Me and my wife were talking,” DeMoss said. “Are you going to do it or not do it? I said, I guess I’ll go.”
DeMoss hit the road, winning $8,000 over the Fourth of July run and second at the Calgary Stampede. He was doing OK, but not up to the standard he was used to.
Things have started to click, however. “You know, it feels good right now. I kind of wish we had a couple more months” before the rodeo season ends, he said.
DeMoss would like to earn $20,000 more in the next five weeks. He was 18th at the start of the week, only $5,400 from 15th place, but the extra money would give him some security.
And there’s a chance he can do it. He will rodeo every day except for six between now and September 30. But this week includes a little down time. His wife Margie will meet him in Denver, where they’ll enjoy Tuesday and Wednesday off.
Then it’s back to the road, in pursuit of his 12th qualification for the Wrangler NFR.
Bull rider Newt Brasfield, of Lane, Okla., scored 85 points on the Korkow Rodeo’s No. 208 to win $1,706.
Brasfield had seen the bull at the Dickinson, N.D. rodeo in late June. “He was nice there,” he said. “I was pumped to have him. I felt like he was a little buckier than the last time I saw him. I needed that, anyway … 85 (points), you can’t complain about that.”
The 22-year-old cowboy is in his first year of PRCA competition, and it’s not going quite as well as he’d like. “I’ve stayed afloat, stayed healthy and made a decent living,” he said. “I went pretty hard this summer, but didn’t have the year I wanted to.”
Even so, he’s ranked eighth in the Prairie Circuit standings, pro rodeo’s regional designation for rodeos in Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma, and he’ll compete at the RAM Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo in October.
After his ride on Saturday night, Brasfield was in a hurry to make the eight-hour trip home. The third birthday party for he and his wife Brooke’s son Briar was on Sunday, and he didn’t want to miss it. He gives full credit for his career success to his wife, Brooke.
“I couldn’t do this without her,” he said. “She’s in her last year of nursing school, and she’s raised a kid and gone to school while I’ve been out here. I have to give her props for that.”
This was Brasfield’s first trip to Hastings, but it won’t be the last. “I’ll be back after tonight.”
Other champions at the 25th annual rodeo were bareback rider Casey Breuer, Mandan, N.D. (77.5 points), tie-down roper Cody Quaney, Cheney, Kan. (9.1 seconds), steer wrestler Justin Shaffer, Hallsville, Texas (4.0 seconds), team ropers Caleb Mitchell, Mason, Texas and Dustin Harris, O’Neill, Neb. (4.7 seconds), barrel racer Emily Miller, Weatherford, Okla. (16.43 seconds), and all-around Ty Talsma, Verdigre, Neb. Talsma competed in the steer wrestling and team roping and placed in both events.
The 2016 Miss Oregon Trail Rodeo queen was crowned during the Sunday performance. Jenna Langer, Superior, Neb., won the crown and the title. She is the 18-year-old daughter of Larry and Jody Langer.
Courtesy of PRCA